@phdthesis{8934,
abstract = {In this thesis, we consider several of the most classical and fundamental problems in static analysis and formal verification, including invariant generation, reachability analysis, termination analysis of probabilistic programs, data-flow analysis, quantitative analysis of Markov chains and Markov decision processes, and the problem of data packing in cache management.
We use techniques from parameterized complexity theory, polyhedral geometry, and real algebraic geometry to significantly improve the state-of-the-art, in terms of both scalability and completeness guarantees, for the mentioned problems. In some cases, our results are the first theoretical improvements for the respective problems in two or three decades.},
author = {Goharshady, Amir Kafshdar},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {278},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Parameterized and algebro-geometric advances in static program analysis}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8934},
year = {2021},
}
@phdthesis{7196,
abstract = {In this thesis we study certain mathematical aspects of evolution. The two primary forces that drive an evolutionary process are mutation and selection. Mutation generates new variants in a population. Selection chooses among the variants depending on the reproductive rates of individuals. Evolutionary processes are intrinsically random – a new mutation that is initially present in the population at low frequency can go extinct, even if it confers a reproductive advantage. The overall rate of evolution is largely determined by two quantities: the probability that an invading advantageous mutation spreads through the population (called fixation probability) and the time until it does so (called fixation time). Both those quantities crucially depend not only on the strength of the invading mutation but also on the population structure. In this thesis, we aim to understand how the underlying population structure affects the overall rate of evolution. Specifically, we study population structures that increase the fixation probability of advantageous mutants (called amplifiers of selection). Broadly speaking, our results are of three different types: We present various strong amplifiers, we identify regimes under which only limited amplification is feasible, and we propose population structures that provide different tradeoffs between high fixation probability and short fixation time.},
author = {Tkadlec, Josef},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {144},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{A role of graphs in evolutionary processes}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7196},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7680,
abstract = {Proteins and their complex dynamic interactions regulate cellular mechanisms from sensing and transducing extracellular signals, to mediating genetic responses, and sustaining or changing cell morphology. To manipulate these protein-protein interactions (PPIs) that govern the behavior and fate of cells, synthetically constructed, genetically encoded tools provide the means to precisely target proteins of interest (POIs), and control their subcellular localization and activity in vitro and in vivo. Ideal synthetic tools react to an orthogonal cue, i.e. a trigger that does not activate any other endogenous process, thereby allowing manipulation of the POI alone.
In optogenetics, naturally occurring photosensory domain from plants, algae and bacteria are re-purposed and genetically fused to POIs. Illumination with light of a specific wavelength triggers a conformational change that can mediate PPIs, such as dimerization or oligomerization. By using light as a trigger, these tools can be activated with high spatial and temporal precision, on subcellular and millisecond scales. Chemogenetic tools consist of protein domains that recognize and bind small molecules. By genetic fusion to POIs, these domains can mediate PPIs upon addition of their specific ligands, which are often synthetically designed to provide highly specific interactions and exhibit good bioavailability.
Most optogenetic tools to mediate PPIs are based on well-studied photoreceptors responding to red, blue or near-UV light, leaving a striking gap in the green band of the visible light spectrum. Among both optogenetic and chemogenetic tools, there is an abundance of methods to induce PPIs, but tools to disrupt them require UV illumination, rely on covalent linkage and subsequent enzymatic cleavage or initially result in protein clustering of unknown stoichiometry.
This work describes how the recently structurally and photochemically characterized green-light responsive cobalamin-binding domains (CBDs) from bacterial transcription factors were re-purposed to function as a green-light responsive optogenetic tool. In contrast to previously engineered optogenetic tools, CBDs do not induce PPI, but rather confer a PPI already upon expression, which can be rapidly disrupted by illumination. This was employed to mimic inhibition of constitutive activity of a growth factor receptor, and successfully implement for cell signalling in mammalian cells and in vivo to rescue development in zebrafish. This work further describes the development and application of a chemically induced de-dimerizer (CDD) based on a recently identified and structurally described bacterial oxyreductase. CDD forms a dimer upon expression in absence of its cofactor, the flavin derivative F420. Safety and of domain expression and ligand exposure are demonstrated in vitro and in vivo in zebrafish. The system is further applied to inhibit cell signalling output from a chimeric receptor upon F420 treatment.
CBDs and CDD expand the repertoire of synthetic tools by providing novel mechanisms of mediating PPIs, and by recognizing previously not utilized cues. In the future, they can readily be combined with existing synthetic tools to functionally manipulate PPIs in vitro and in vivo.},
author = {Kainrath, Stephanie},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {98},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Synthetic tools for optogenetic and chemogenetic inhibition of cellular signals}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7680},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7944,
abstract = {This thesis considers two examples of reconfiguration problems: flipping edges in edge-labelled triangulations of planar point sets and swapping labelled tokens placed on vertices of a graph. In both cases the studied structures – all the triangulations of a given point set or all token placements on a given graph – can be thought of as vertices of the so-called reconfiguration graph, in which two vertices are adjacent if the corresponding structures differ by a single elementary operation – by a flip of a diagonal in a triangulation or by a swap of tokens on adjacent vertices, respectively. We study the reconfiguration of one instance of a structure into another via (shortest) paths in the reconfiguration graph.
For triangulations of point sets in which each edge has a unique label and a flip transfers the label from the removed edge to the new edge, we prove a polynomial-time testable condition, called the Orbit Theorem, that characterizes when two triangulations of the same point set lie in the same connected component of the reconfiguration graph. The condition was first conjectured by Bose, Lubiw, Pathak and Verdonschot. We additionally provide a polynomial time algorithm that computes a reconfiguring flip sequence, if it exists. Our proof of the Orbit Theorem uses topological properties of a certain high-dimensional cell complex that has the usual reconfiguration graph as its 1-skeleton.
In the context of token swapping on a tree graph, we make partial progress on the problem of finding shortest reconfiguration sequences. We disprove the so-called Happy Leaf Conjecture and demonstrate the importance of swapping tokens that are already placed at the correct vertices. We also prove that a generalization of the problem to weighted coloured token swapping is NP-hard on trees but solvable in polynomial time on paths and stars.},
author = {Masárová, Zuzana},
isbn = {978-3-99078-005-3},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {reconfiguration, reconfiguration graph, triangulations, flip, constrained triangulations, shellability, piecewise-linear balls, token swapping, trees, coloured weighted token swapping},
pages = {160},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Reconfiguration problems}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7944},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8032,
abstract = {Algorithms in computational 3-manifold topology typically take a triangulation as an input and return topological information about the underlying 3-manifold. However, extracting the desired information from a triangulation (e.g., evaluating an invariant) is often computationally very expensive. In recent years this complexity barrier has been successfully tackled in some cases by importing ideas from the theory of parameterized algorithms into the realm of 3-manifolds. Various computationally hard problems were shown to be efficiently solvable for input triangulations that are sufficiently “tree-like.”
In this thesis we focus on the key combinatorial parameter in the above context: we consider the treewidth of a compact, orientable 3-manifold, i.e., the smallest treewidth of the dual graph of any triangulation thereof. By building on the work of Scharlemann–Thompson and Scharlemann–Schultens–Saito on generalized Heegaard splittings, and on the work of Jaco–Rubinstein on layered triangulations, we establish quantitative relations between the treewidth and classical topological invariants of a 3-manifold. In particular, among other results, we show that the treewidth of a closed, orientable, irreducible, non-Haken 3-manifold is always within a constant factor of its Heegaard genus.},
author = {Huszár, Kristóf},
isbn = {978-3-99078-006-0},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {xviii+120},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Combinatorial width parameters for 3-dimensional manifolds}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8032},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8156,
abstract = {We present solutions to several problems originating from geometry and discrete mathematics: existence of equipartitions, maps without Tverberg multiple points, and inscribing quadrilaterals. Equivariant obstruction theory is the natural topological approach to these type of questions. However, for the specific problems we consider it had yielded only partial or no results. We get our results by complementing equivariant obstruction theory with other techniques from topology and geometry.},
author = {Avvakumov, Sergey},
pages = {119},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Topological methods in geometry and discrete mathematics}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8156},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8353,
abstract = {Mrp (Multi resistance and pH adaptation) are broadly distributed secondary active antiporters that catalyze the transport of monovalent ions such as sodium and potassium outside of the cell coupled to the inward translocation of protons. Mrp antiporters are unique in a way that they are composed of seven subunits (MrpABCDEFG) encoded in a single operon, whereas other antiporters catalyzing the same reaction are mostly encoded by a single gene. Mrp exchangers are crucial for intracellular pH homeostasis and Na+ efflux, essential mechanisms for H+ uptake under alkaline environments and for reduction of the intracellular concentration of toxic cations. Mrp displays no homology to any other monovalent Na+(K+)/H+ antiporters but Mrp subunits have primary sequence similarity to essential redox-driven proton pumps, such as respiratory complex I and membrane-bound hydrogenases. This similarity reinforces the hypothesis that these present day redox-driven proton pumps are descended from the Mrp antiporter. The Mrp structure serves as a model to understand the yet obscure coupling mechanism between ion or electron transfer and proton translocation in this large group of proteins. In the thesis, I am presenting the purification, biochemical analysis, cryo-EM analysis and molecular structure of the Mrp complex from Anoxybacillus flavithermus solved by cryo-EM at 3.0 Å resolution. Numerous conditions were screened to purify Mrp to high homogeneity and to obtain an appropriate distribution of single particles on cryo-EM grids covered with a continuous layer of ultrathin carbon. A preferred particle orientation problem was solved by performing a tilted data collection. The activity assays showed the specific pH-dependent
profile of secondary active antiporters. The molecular structure shows that Mrp is a dimer of seven-subunit protomers with 50 trans-membrane helices each. The dimer interface is built by many short and tilted transmembrane helices, probably causing a thinning of the bacterial membrane. The surface charge distribution shows an extraordinary asymmetry within each monomer, revealing presumable proton and sodium translocation pathways. The two largest
and homologous Mrp subunits MrpA and MrpD probably translocate one proton each into the cell. The sodium ion is likely being translocated in the opposite direction within the small subunits along a ladder of charged and conserved residues. Based on the structure, we propose a mechanism were the antiport activity is accomplished via electrostatic interactions between the charged cations and key charged residues. The flexible key TM helices coordinate these
electrostatic interactions, while the membrane thinning between the monomers enables the translocation of sodium across the charged membrane. The entire family of redox-driven proton pumps is likely to perform their mechanism in a likewise manner.},
author = {Steiner, Julia},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {191},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Biochemical and structural investigation of the Mrp antiporter, an ancestor of complex I}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8353},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8350,
abstract = {Cytoplasm is a gel-like crowded environment composed of tens of thousands of macromolecules, organelles, cytoskeletal networks and cytosol. The structure of the cytoplasm is thought to be highly organized and heterogeneous due to the crowding of its constituents and their effective compartmentalization. In such an environment, the diffusive dynamics of the molecules is very restricted, an effect that is further amplified by clustering and anchoring of molecules. Despite the jammed nature of the cytoplasm at the microscopic scale, large-scale reorganization of cytoplasm is essential for important cellular functions, such as nuclear positioning and cell division. How such mesoscale reorganization of the cytoplasm is achieved, especially for very large cells such as oocytes or syncytial tissues that can span hundreds of micrometers in size, has only begun to be understood.
In this thesis, I focus on the recent advances in elucidating the molecular, cellular and biophysical principles underlying cytoplasmic organization across different scales, structures and species. First, I outline which of these principles have been identified by reductionist approaches, such as in vitro reconstitution assays, where boundary conditions and components can be modulated at ease. I then describe how the theoretical and experimental framework established in these reduced systems have been applied to their more complex in vivo counterparts, in particular oocytes and embryonic syncytial structures, and discuss how such complex biological systems can initiate symmetry breaking and establish patterning.
Specifically, I examine an example of large-scale reorganizations taking place in zebrafish embryos, where extensive cytoplasmic streaming leads to the segregation of cytoplasm from yolk granules along the animal-vegetal axis of the embryo. Using biophysical experimentation and theory, I investigate the forces underlying this process, to show that this process does not rely on cortical actin reorganization, as previously thought, but instead on a cell-cycle-dependent bulk actin polymerization wave traveling from the animal to the vegetal pole of the embryo. This wave functions in segregation by both pulling cytoplasm animally and pushing yolk granules vegetally. Cytoplasm pulling is mediated by bulk actin network flows exerting friction forces on the cytoplasm, while yolk granule pushing is achieved by a mechanism closely resembling actin comet formation on yolk granules. This study defines a novel role of bulk actin polymerization waves in embryo polarization via cytoplasmic segregation. Lastly, I describe the cytoplasmic reorganizations taking place during zebrafish oocyte maturation, where the initial segregation of the cytoplasm and yolk granules occurs. Here, I demonstrate a previously uncharacterized wave of microtubule aster formation, traveling the oocyte along the animal-vegetal axis. Further research is required to determine the role of such microtubule structures in cytoplasmic reorganizations therein.
Collectively, these studies provide further evidence for the coupling between cell cytoskeleton and cell cycle machinery, which can underlie a core self-organizing mechanism for orchestrating large-scale reorganizations in a cell-cycle-tunable manner, where the modulations of the force-generating machinery and cytoplasmic mechanics can be harbored to fulfill cellular functions.},
author = {Shamipour, Shayan},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {107},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Bulk actin dynamics drive phase segregation in zebrafish oocytes }},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8350},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8574,
abstract = {This thesis concerns itself with the interactions of evolutionary and ecological forces and the consequences on genetic diversity and the ultimate survival of populations. It is important to understand what signals processes
leave on the genome and what we can infer from such data, which is usually abundant but noisy. Furthermore, understanding how and when populations adapt or go extinct is important for practical purposes, such as the genetic management of populations, as well as for theoretical questions, since local adaptation can be the first step toward speciation.
In Chapter 2, we introduce the method of maximum entropy to approximate the demographic changes of a population in a simple setting, namely the logistic growth model with immigration. We show that this method is not only a powerful
tool in physics but can be gainfully applied in an ecological framework. We investigate how well it approximates the real
behavior of the system, and find that is does so, even in unexpected situations. Finally, we illustrate how it can model changing environments.
In Chapter 3, we analyze the co-evolution of allele frequencies and population sizes in an infinite island model.
We give conditions under which polygenic adaptation to a rare habitat is possible. The model we use is based on the diffusion approximation, considers eco-evolutionary feedback mechanisms (hard selection), and treats both
drift and environmental fluctuations explicitly. We also look at limiting scenarios, for which we derive analytical expressions.
In Chapter 4, we present a coalescent based simulation tool to obtain patterns of diversity in a spatially explicit subdivided population, in which the demographic history of each subpopulation can be specified. We compare
the results to existing predictions, and explore the relative importance of time and space under a variety of spatial arrangements and demographic histories, such as expansion and extinction.
In the last chapter, we give a brief outlook to further research. },
author = {Szep, Eniko},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {158},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Local adaptation in metapopulations}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8574},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8366,
abstract = {Fabrication of curved shells plays an important role in modern design, industry, and science. Among their remarkable properties are, for example, aesthetics of organic shapes, ability to evenly distribute loads, or efficient flow separation. They find applications across vast length scales ranging from sky-scraper architecture to microscopic devices. But, at
the same time, the design of curved shells and their manufacturing process pose a variety of challenges. In this thesis, they are addressed from several perspectives. In particular, this thesis presents approaches based on the transformation of initially flat sheets into the target curved surfaces. This involves problems of interactive design of shells with nontrivial mechanical constraints, inverse design of complex structural materials, and data-driven modeling of delicate and time-dependent physical properties. At the same time, two newly-developed self-morphing mechanisms targeting flat-to-curved transformation are presented.
In architecture, doubly curved surfaces can be realized as cold bent glass panelizations. Originally flat glass panels are bent into frames and remain stressed. This is a cost-efficient fabrication approach compared to hot bending, when glass panels are shaped plastically. However such constructions are prone to breaking during bending, and it is highly
nontrivial to navigate the design space, keeping the panels fabricable and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. We introduce an interactive design system for cold bent glass façades, while previously even offline optimization for such scenarios has not been sufficiently developed. Our method is based on a deep learning approach providing quick
and high precision estimation of glass panel shape and stress while handling the shape
multimodality.
Fabrication of smaller objects of scales below 1 m, can also greatly benefit from shaping originally flat sheets. In this respect, we designed new self-morphing shell mechanisms transforming from an initial flat state to a doubly curved state with high precision and detail. Our so-called CurveUps demonstrate the encodement of the geometric information
into the shell. Furthermore, we explored the frontiers of programmable materials and showed how temporal information can additionally be encoded into a flat shell. This allows prescribing deformation sequences for doubly curved surfaces and, thus, facilitates self-collision avoidance enabling complex shapes and functionalities otherwise impossible.
Both of these methods include inverse design tools keeping the user in the design loop.},
author = {Guseinov, Ruslan},
isbn = {978-3-99078-010-7},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {computer-aided design, shape modeling, self-morphing, mechanical engineering},
pages = {118},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Computational design of curved thin shells: From glass façades to programmable matter}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8366},
year = {2020},
}